Melatonin for Male Fertility
Though melatonin for male fertility is a subject of vast controversy, several types of extensive studies have been made over recent years that suggest there is a significant link between melatonin and male fertility. The key role of melatonin in male fertility involves improved sleep-wake cycles and increased sperm quality.
With the growing concern of environmental toxicity throughout the world, environmental toxins adversely affect human health in mainly 2 ways – by causing serious oxidative damage and by affecting the endocrine system. And these 2 factors are considered to be major causes of male infertility but obviously not limited to.
Melatonin is a popular and powerful antioxidant and is widely used in treating sleep disorders. But, is it beneficial for male fertility? Let’s explore in a little bit deeper what melatonin exactly is, and whether it may affect male fertility.
What is melatonin?
Melatonin is typically a hormone that is naturally secreted by the pineal gland, a pea-sized small gland situated at the base of the human brain. It plays an important role in regulating the 24- hour natural sleep-wake cycle, also known as circadian rhythm.
Melatonin keeps the internal clock of the human body in check and tells the body when it’s time to sleep or wake up.
The secretion of melatonin is strongly driven by sunlight exposure. When the sun sets, melatonin levels in the blood start to rise and reach the highest levels at night. Similarly, melatonin levels in the blood start to fall down in the morning when the sun rises.
Some habits such as not getting adequate sunlight during daytime or light exposure during bedtime may cause imbalances in melatonin production and impact sleep quality. Natural melatonin levels in the blood may also be affected by night jobs and jet lags.
For this reason, melatonin supplements are used as a “Natural sleeping pill”. Melatonin is recognized by the FDA as a dietary supplement and is generally considered safe in recommended doses.
The uses of melatonin
Several types of research suggest that melatonin supplements can be effective in treating sleep disorders like delayed sleep phase and providing some relief from jet lag and insomnia.
Since a large number of studies suggest that male fertility is closely linked with adequate sleep, people often consider using melatonin supplements to improve their reproductive health as well as fertility. Quality of sleep can impact testosterone, sperm health, inflammation, and other male reproductive hormones.
How does melatonin work?
The pineal gland of the brain naturally produces melatonin and the levels of melatonin in the blood naturally fluctuate throughout the day. Melatonin just signals to the body when it’s time to sleep, but it never makes fall asleep.
Though melatonin acts as a “natural sleeping pill”, it doesn’t mean that lack of melatonin is always the cause of sleep issues or insomnia. There’re a lot of other factors that may involve developing a sleep-related issue.
Therefore, it isn’t recommended to take melatonin supplements whenever experiencing sleep issues, instead consult a doctor to get help finding out the main underlying cause of the issue.
Does melatonin affect male fertility?
The concern that melatonin might harm semen quality in healthy male individuals is mostly theoretical. According to recent researches, melatonin regulates breeding cycles in many mammals and suppresses fertility during winters.
However, primates including humans don’t have any breeding cycles or mating seasons, and this hormone doesn’t seem to affect human fertility the same way.
Some reliable data suggest that melatonin supplements may have positive impacts on male fertility. Men who are fertile tend to hold higher melatonin levels in their bloodstream as well as in semen, on average, compared to those who are not fertile.
Studies on humans have shown that melatonin can protect sperms from oxidative stress and also from DNA fragmentation, that are essential not only for a healthy conception but also for future development or growth of the fetus.
Another study suggests that melatonin helps glucose metabolism within the testis in diabetic men and promotes spermatogenesis. Therefore, melatonin supplementation might be an effective therapy for diabetic men who are facing infertility or subfertility.
Besides, as per a study conducted by Downstate Medical Center, a State University of New York, melatonin plays a vital role in increasing sperm quality in the long-standing infertile male groups.
How to use melatonin
The dosage of melatonin may range from 0.5 mg to 10 mg per day depending on the conditions. In most cases, melatonin is recommended 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. As all melatonin supplements aren’t the same standard, it’s highly recommended to consult your doctor before taking melatonin supplements.
Safety and side effects of melatonin
Melatonin is generally considered safe for both short-term as well as long-term use. Unlike with other synthetic sleep medications, with melatonin, you’re not likely to become addicted or dependent. Besides you’re unlikely to have decreased response to melatonin after repeated use of this hormone or face any hangover effects.
A very few cases of side effects are reported. Common side effects include –
Other less common side effects of melatonin may include mild anxiety, short-term depression, mild tremor, reduced alertness, irritability, abdominal cramps, low blood pressure, and disorientation or confusion. Because melatonin may cause drowsiness during the daytime, don’t use machinery or drive within 5 hours of taking a melatonin supplement.
Melatonin supplements may interact with certain medications including:
- Diabetic medications
- Contraceptive drugs
- Anti-platelet drugs and anticoagulants
Whenever you consider taking melatonin supplements, check with your healthcare provider first especially if you’re taking any medications for any underlying medical condition. Your healthcare provider can help you determine whether a melatonin supplement is right for you.
Though melatonin supplements are generally safe for most people, it doesn’t mean one can use these supplements arbitrarily. To reap the benefits of natural melatonin supplements, you’ll need to follow a proper plan by taking consideration into diets and other lifestyle factors. It’s always recommended to consult a licensed medical practitioner before taking melatonin supplements in an attempt to improve male fertility.
Disclaimer - The information of this article is generic and not intended to cure, diagnose, or treat any disease, and never replace any prescribed medical guideline for any underlying health conditions.